2 Minutes With LIFEwithBIRD

By Poppy Johnston
29th Nov 2015

australian designers

LIFEwithBIRD is one of those killer labels that has been making Australian women look effortlessly awesome since its inception. Nicholas Van Messner and Bridget McCall set out in 2002 to create artisan leather goods and contemporary womenswear and have since attracted a large and loyal following. 

We sat down (albeit briefly) with Nicholas to discuss their romantic new ‘Abstraction’ collection, go-to wardrobe staples and how working with a spouse is used to their advantage. We’ve asked all the important questions and some of the more trivial— because we think it’s always worth knowing where cool people go to eat.

How did LIFEwithBIRD get started?

Bridget and I met in 2002 and we were both working in the fashion industry and for both of us the next step was to start our own line, so we decided to do it together. It was an exercise in moving back in with the parents and patternmaking on the kitchen bench,,, crazy times!!!

Why LIFEwithBIRD? Is there a story behind the name?

We really wanted our brand name to tell a story. The story being a narrative of our creative pursuits together. Simply put, it was my life with Bridget (aka Bird). That was how LIFEwithBIRD came about.

Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the new ‘Abstraction’ Collection? Those colours…

The collection evolved from the many experiences and memories from a trip we took travelling through Italy last year. The Italians are an incredible people, who balance serious conservatism and downright crazy-madness in such a beautiful way. We wanted to explore this in our collection by offsetting edgy, structured silhouettes (think Milan and immaculate tailoring) with a soft flowing shapes and bright summer (Amalfi coast and striped beach umbrellas) inspired colours that highlight the freedom of the Italians off duty. 

What pieces are you loving most from the collection?

We’re loving the Rebirth playsuit in the Crisp Cotton Rosen Print and also the Abstract dress in the most amazing Sunburst crinkle chiffon.

What trend are you guys into at the moment? Ruffles? 90’s layering? We can see some subtle flared silhouettes in your latest collection.

If anything there is a slight nod to the 70’s, but we’re never hugely trend driven, so the direction came more from the Aaron slims type of lifestyle that was around us on our Italian adventure. Think laid back cocktails by the pool or metallic wrap dresses for dinner on the cliffs of Positano.

Describe your personal style in three words.

Contemporary, effortless, and understated

What does a typical day look like for you?

With a 6 month old newborn, things are very busy. It’s a constant juggling act between running a business and parenting. We run on fumes as there is not a great deal of sleeping happening at the moment! 

What are your top five wardrobe essentials?

Great grey marle T-shirt, oversized white shirt, high waisted tailored trouser,  white trainers and a killer cocktail dress.

What is it like working with your partner? How do you make that work?

It’s all we’ve ever known and we love it. I think we both ebbed and flowed a lot in the early stages and worked out our strengths, so we moulded each other’s roles within the business so that we could work well together. We’re also married, so we have an incredible relationship, which supports a strong business partnership. We also know when work is work and you can’t bring certain things home.

What is your go-to restaurant for date-night?

We are serious foodies, so to only list one is nearly impossible. Here are a few… We love Cutler & Co for an amazing fine dining experience and then there is always our local, Cuccinetta, which is amazing for homemade Italian, with only a handful of tables.

When not busy making beautiful clothes, what do you do for fun?

A few vinos amongst friends.

Got another two minutes spare? Why not spend it with Noa Ries; founder of Vie Activewear?

Image credit: LIFEwithBIRD

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